No consideration for municipalities in Plan 2014

I am sure I am not the only County resident concerned at the apparent lack of action, or news of any action, being taken to mitigate the possibility of future flooding in the Lake Ontario-St.Lawrence River Basin.

Now there’s talk of conservation authorities “focusing” on their mandate when we need them more than ever.

If you live on the shores of Lake Ontario, you should visit the United Shoreline Ontario Youtube page and watch the video entitled ‘Plan 2014 July 2019 for municipal distribution’.

The Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board is tasked with controlling the levels of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River under the guidelines set out in their Plan 2014. This plan was developed in secret; there was no consultation, consideration given, or concern for its potential impact on homeowners and municipalities on these waters. The plan’s sole purpose is to facilitate shipping.

Plan 1958DD under which Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence was managed was designed to keep water levels within a four-foot range. Plan 2014 established a range of seven feet between the highest high and the lowest low. In doing this the Board knew and acknowledged there would be flooding yet did nothing to warn residents and municipalities.

In the fall of 2018 water levels could have been lowered in Lake Ontario because of record high water levels in Lake Erie. Plan 2014 does not allow this because it is designed so that levels are higher in the fall. What is worse, even though the Board could foresee the possibility of flooding in 2019, Plan 2014 no longer allows for “discretionary decision making” until extreme trigger levels are reached. By this point many areas are already experiencing flooding! The flooding of 2019 was completely avoidable.

Plan 2014 provides for no mitigation or compensation, yet it puts infrastructure built under the water levels set by Plan 1958DD at risk because of its higher allowable water levels. Clearly Plan 2014 is flawed.

The Board continues to deny any responsibility for what has occurred. That it has failed twice in three years is a clear indication the Plan needs to be suspended while it is reconsidered with input from ALL concerned parties – not just shipping interests.

All levels of government need to make this an urgent priority. The County needs to join other affected municipalities and insist that immediate action be taken on this matter.

Chris Keen